Tell us about where you work and what you do there.
I am the CEO and Founder of SustainAble Home Goods but I see myself more as the Chief Visionary Officer. It is my job to create and maintain the overall vision of our company, which is to connect our customers to the amazing makers whose pieces they are buying and to make sustainable living more accessible to everyone. It is also my job to empower the amazing team of people that I work with to be the best leaders and people they can be.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a lover of beauty, justice, divine mysteries, storytelling, travel, ceramics, textiles, all things handmade, and plants! I am a wife to a rad husband and mother to four ah-mazing kids (ranging in age from 6 to 13). We currently reside in Atlanta, GA but I am originally from Southern California. I care deeply about making the world a better place for my kids (especially as it pertains to human rights and environmental justice) but more than that, showing them that they have the power within themselves to also change the world and use their privilege to do so.
Innovation is at the heart of advancements in eCommerce. Do you have any thoughts or advice around maintaining an innovative edge?
To me it’s all about innovation. Innovation is where the fun lies and curiosity! If you stop asking questions, if you stop trying to be better, if you stop changing, you are already dead. I think innovation is what makes entrepreneurship so fun and fascinating because we get to change the current system. We get to question the way things have always been and say ‘Let’s do something new!’ There’s nothing more exciting to me than that in the world of business.
I think the key to maintaining an innovative edge lies in curiosity. Always stay curious. Always question. The answers to those questions are what lead to creating things we never thought possible. That is the definition of innovation.
What do you think has been your biggest professional success so far?
My biggest professional success has been acting as the accessories designer for a huge office building in Atlanta, owned by a major corporation. That project pushed me in so many ways and really solidified and honed my skills as a designer, a leader, and a businesswoman because I was having to run two stores and lead my staff concurrently to the project. It also showed me that I had built a great team because I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish it alone and step away from the day-to-day duties of the stores and online without these amazing folks stepping up and being leaders. It showed me my ability to pivot and expand my capabilities by bringing in a new revenue stream. It would have been easy to turn down the job and say, “No, I am a store owner, not a designer.” But instead I said yes to growth and to unlocking my potential and I am so glad I did!
What do you think is the next big trend in eCommerce?
I think in the near future we are going to continue to see more integration between the physical and the digital shopping experience. There’s a new term out there called Click and Brick, which is a play on the term brick-and-mortar. I think customers want a seamless experience between their online and physical shopping so retailers are going to start looking at the weaknesses of online and the weaknesses of physical shopping and saying “How do we fill in the gap?” I already see business models where eCommerce brands are popping up in physical spaces in order to give their customers the opportunity to touch the product and of course physical stores are growing their digital footprint everyday. I think a seamless integration of the two worlds is the future.
Name an eCommerce brand you admire and why.
Lately, one of my favorites has been Flamingo Estates. Richard Christiansen and his team have done an amazing job of creating a brand that has created its own world that we just want to crawl into and be a part of. I absolutely love when a brand becomes more than just the products they sell but a representation of a more beautiful and hopeful world that we all want to be a part of.
What goals do you have for 2022?
I want to grow our senior leadership and continue to solidify our business model. I want to start building out a wholesale program with some of our global makers. Lastly, I want to raise our first round of seed capital.
What do you geek out over?
Oh I geek out over SO much! I am a certified Blerd (Black nerd). I love sci-fi, horror, musicals. I just LOVE good storytelling in whatever genre! I am obsessed with ceramics and textile production. Both have such a gorgeous creation process. I love singing Disney movie songs with my kids and playing Just Dance with them! I also geek out over plants (which are the coolest and teach us all so many life lessons)!